Neil Redfearn
Neil Redfearn explained that Sam Byram needs to be protected.Getty

Neil Redfearn has explained his decision to bench Sam Byram against Brighton despite the 21 year old insisting he could play.

Byram was left on the sidelines and his contribution to the squad was missed as the side fell to a 2-0 loss to their seaside opposition, breaking a three game winning-streak and sending Leeds into 14th position in the table.

He had a problem with his knee but was reportedly willing to step up if Redfearn called on him, though the manager insisted that a loss is worth making sure that players at the club don't sustain long-term injuries.

"It was a real precaution with him again," he explained to the Yorkshire Post. "He has been important in the recent run and we missed him the other night. But, sometimes, you have got to make these decisions. Some of these guys are young and we have got to respect that. We have got to rest them when we can.

"With youth comes that lack of experience with regards to knowing their own bodies and what they are capable of. Sometimes what happens with young kids is that it is whispers and bangs.

"And if it is a bang then they are out for a while. The problem is the young lads don't always recognise the whispers if there is a niggle there. It was right to take that decision with Sam. I would rather miss him for one game than five."

The loss to Brighton was particularly disappointing for Leeds as they looked to finally be building a winning streak after much controversy surrounding Massimo Cellino ad ownership of the club – they had won five of their last six games and were looking far from the relegation battle.

And after the match with Brighton Redfearn insisted that Leeds were far from their best and looked tired after such good performances in the preceding weeks.

"We were nothing like we can be, we looked a little jaded and as though we had played to the max in the last few games," he said. "We made bad decisions in possession, didn't press Brighton enough, and didn't break with menace."

Leeds host Ipswich next Wednesday in what will no doubt be a tough match for the side, with the visitors looking to keep the pressure on second-placed Middlesbrough for automatic promotion.